What happens when a wise-cracking assassin assembles a team composed of himself from different dimensions and heads to space in order to defeat a cosmic entity bent on absorbing the consciousness of all living organisms? You get the story found in Deadpool Corps Volume 1: Pool-Pocalypse Now. This trade paperback collects Deadpool Corps Issues 1-6, detailing the early adventures of this team of sarcastic, slightly psychotic soldiers and their quest to save the universe and make as much cash as they can in the process. Starring the titular Deadpool, his female counterpart Lady Deadpool, his child-version Kid Deadpool/Kidpool, his canine comrade Dogpool, and a zombified cranium Headpool, this adventure promises to show off a superhero team the likes of which the comic universe has never seen before. Can they succeed in their quest to defeat the monster known only as The Awareness when their chances of success are approximately 3720 to 1?
Deadpool, a character created in the 90s as a one-off villain for the X-Men, is now one of the best known and most popular characters in the comic book community and beyond. He has appeared in movies (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and video games (Marvel vs. Capcom 3). The “merc with a mouth” is famous for his constant banter, numerous pop-culture references, and love of breaking the fourth wall whenever the opportunity presents itself. Though he is a blood-thirsty killer who only cares about women, money, and himself, he still manages to come off as a ridiculous individual and is played for comic effect in most of his appearances.
Deadpool Corps follows the aforementioned group of mercenaries. The original Deadpool, upon being chosen to save the universe by a powerful being known as The Contemplator, decides that he needs allies in the form of his other selves from alternate dimensions. Before Pool-Pocalypse begins, Deadpool recruits these miscreants one by one, and together they form an effective, if ridiculous and showboating, team. The story opens as our “heroes” get ready to cross the galaxy to fight The Awareness, coming into conflict with a mighty race of beings known as The Elders, as well as aliens who serve the corps’ ultimate foe. With haphazard strategies, and a little luck, the corps manages to outwit and outfight whoever they come across. But, is it enough for them to defeat a being that literally eats the minds of entire races?
As you can probably tell from my previous descriptions, the plot of Pool-Pocalypse is utterly nonsensical, but that’s exactly what a good Deadpool story should be. The emphasis is not on complex ideas, exciting revelations, or emotional occurrences, but is instead upon the sheer craziness of the main characters. Humor is the key element of Pool-Pocalypse and I must say that Victor Gischler delivers us tons of laughs with the witty dialogue he writes and the hilarious situations he cooks up for the Deadpool Corps. There are also a good number of pop-culture references thrown in for good measure: not too few as to seem like a throw-away gag, but not too many as to overdo the joke. Since much of the story is set in space, a lot of them are related to the Sci-Fi genre such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Overall, I’d have to say I enjoyed the wittiness of the writing, though the story itself pretty much boils down to “travel across space. Confront cloudy bad thing,” to quote Deadpool.
The artwork in Deadpool Corps is somewhat of a mixed bag. The character designs are very creative, as were many of the locales designed for the story. Some scenes, however, looked somewhat sketchy and the characters off form. I especially disliked how the characters’ arms seemed to change length mid-battle, as whenever they switched to bladed weapons it seemed like their reaches increased drastically. Some battle scenes, however, looked quite epic and it was easy to overlook some of the flaws in the artwork. I also disliked the choice of making the masks of the Deadpool characters look like they were in a constant state of frowning; though Deadpool isn’t exactly a happy guy, in the past I saw him in a less serious light and this artistic choice clashed with his actions and attitudes on page (well, most of the time anyway). The coloring, in contrast, is superb, with Matt Yackey finding perfect complementary colors; one that stands out in my mind is Kidpool’s green lightsabers and how they look beside his red and black uniform. The inking team of Adelso Corona and Jaime Mendoza did their job expertly, even if the pencil work they complemented is far from perfect. I’d have to say that overall the art balances out to be a bit above average; it’s nothing spectacular, but it’s definitely not bad.
Overall, I really enjoyed Deadpool Corps Volume 1: Pool-Pocalypse Now. It wasn’t a spectacular read that I’ll remember forever, but it was something different and caused me grin and chuckle quite a few times while reading it. I think a lot of different people would enjoy it, whether you’re deep into comics or have no interest in them whatsoever Deadpool offers a humorous and accessible character that requires no knowledge of the Marvel continuity whatsoever. I’d say this comic is worth the read, and worth the buy if you like Deadpool or any comic that can poke fun at itself.
Brett Simon is a twenty-one year old recent reconvert to the world of comics. He wonders what alternate reality versions of himself would look like and how well they’d work together to save the multiverse.